Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Vegetables: Artichokes

296

steamed artichokes with
tarragon butter
Serves 4

fig. 4.5 cutting off tops of

artichokes

Steaming is the classic way to cook globe artichokes. Their leaves become very
tender and perfect for dipping one by one into melted butter (this one is flavored
with fresh tarragon). The artichokes would also be delicious with Hollandaise
Sauce (page 96), or crème fraîche and caviar.
For steaming artichokes

4 medium or large globe artichokes (about 2 pounds total)
1 sprig tarragon
coarse salt
4 thin lemon slices
For tarragon butter

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
coarse salt
For serving

lemon wedges
Prepare artichokes Using a serrated knife, cut off top quarter of each
fig. 4.6 trimming artichoke leaves

artichoke fig. 4.5. Use kitchen shears to trim sharp tips of artichoke leaves fig. 4.6.

vegetables

297

How to Wilt

Remove any small leaves from bottoms of artichokes and trim stems so
artichokes can stand upright.
Prepare steamer Fill a large pot with about 2 inches of water and add a

sprig of tarragon and a pinch of salt. Set steamer basket in pot (make sure water
­ oesn’t seep through holes). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer.
d
Steam artichokes Stand artichokes upright in steamer and season with salt.
Top each with a lemon slice fig. 4.7. Cover pot and steam until bottoms of artichokes are very tender when pierced to the center with the tip of a paring knife,
35 to 50 minutes. (Add more hot water if necessary to maintain level during
cooking.)
Meanwhile, make butter Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat,
then stir in chopped tarragon and season with salt.
Serve Place an artichoke on each plate with some lemon wedges and serve

warm tarragon butter on the side for dipping.

fig. 4.7 preparing artichokes for

steaming

LESSON 4.2

How to Wilt
Wilting is a type of steaming done directly in a pan rather than in a steamer basket
or insert. This is a good technique for cooking tender, leafy greens, including
spinach, chard, beet greens, and mustard greens, because it retains their bright
colors. The greens are cooked using only the liquid clinging to their leaves from
washing (no oil, butter, or other fats are used). You’ll know the greens are wilted
when they just begin to collapse and the vegetable’s natural liquid is released.
This liquid won’t evaporate, so you may need to squeeze it out of the vegetable if
using it in other preparations, such as a filling for stuffed pasta or pie. Also keep this
technique in mind for preparing a simple side of cooked greens.
For particularly soft greens like spinach and escarole, plan on about two and a half
pounds for four servings. Heartier greens, such as chard, will not lose as much
volume, so start with about one pound.

creamed spinach

Serves 4

Wilted spinach can be served on its own, dressed with oil and vinegar and
seasoned with salt and pepper, or quickly warmed in a pan with olive oil, slivered
garlic, and red pepper flakes. But it is also commonly used as a component
of another dish; here it is mixed with a rich béchamel sauce to make the classic
accompaniment to steaks and chops.

2½ pounds spinach
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons all-­purpose flour
1¼ cups milk, plus more if necessary
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg